Academic Profile

Academic Profile

Assoc Prof Yang Liang

Assistant Chair (Students), School of Biological Sciences

School of Biological Sciences
College of Science

Phone: (+65)65923085
Office: SBS-01n-27

  • PhD Technical University of Denmark 2009
  • MSc(BioTech) Technical University of Denmark 2006
  • BS Nankai University 2004
2012.2– present: Assistant Professor of NTU.
2011– 2012: Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow, University of Hamburg.
2010 – 2011: Post Doctoral Fellow, Technical University of Denmark.
2006 – 2009: Ph.D. in Medical Microbiology, Technical University of Denmark. Thesis title: “Pseudomonas aeruginosa quorum-sensing - A factor in biofilm development, and an antipathogenic drug target”. Thesis supervisor: Prof. Søren Molin & Prof. Tim Tolker-Nielsen
2004 – 2006: M.Sc. in Biotechnology, Technical University of Denmark.
2000 – 2004: B.Sc. in Biological Science, Nankai University, Tianjin. China.
I received my bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences from Nankai University (2004) and my MSc, PhD degree in Chemistry, Biotechnology and Chemical Engineering from Technical University of Denmark (2009). After which, I worked in the Infection Microbiology Group headed by Prof. Søren Molin’ at Technical University of Denmark and Dr. Holger Rohde’s group at University of Hamburg as postdoc. In 2012, I joined SCELSE (Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering, Singapore), headed by Prof. Staffan Kjelleberg, as an assistant professor in microbiology. My research is dedicated to bacterial pathogenesis, biofilm physiology, interspecies interactions, and microbial evolution.
Research Interests
Microorganisms mainly live as highly organized surface-associated biofilm communities encased within extracellular matrices in nature. In the biofilm mode of life microbial cells communicate and interact with each other to coordinate functional group activities including defense against hazardous environment stress, and exchange of genetic material. Biofilms are extremely resistant to antimicrobial agents and physical stress and cause a wide range of problems to industrial and hospital settings. The National Institute of Health (NIH) in the US estimates that 65-80% of microbial infections occurring in the human body are biofilm-mediated. My research is dedicated to understanding intercellular signaling, interspecies interactions, and microbial evolution in the context of the biofilm lifestyle.

At the fundamental level, both environmental stress and host immune-derived stress are examined for their impacts on inducing bacterial intercellular (quorum sensing) and intracellular (c-di-GMP) signaling mechanisms that coordinate biofilm formation and stress resistance. The combination of molecular biology and systems biology tools (transcriptomics and proteomics) has enabled us to examine how quorum sensing and c-di-GMP signaling mediate stress response in mono-species and multiple-species biofilms.

At the applied level, high-throughput screening tools have been developed for discovering active compounds that can impair bacterial quorum sensing and c-di-GMP signaling. In addition, quorum sensing and c-di-GMP signaling are also being manipulated for improving the performance of industrial related bioreactors such as the microbial fuel cells.

At the translational level, clinical isolates of major nosocomial infection causing species are monitored for their antibiotic resistance and genome contents. Comparative genomics and experimental evolution experiments are further employed to identify adaptive evolution of pathogens during chronic biofilm-associated infections.
Current Projects
  • A Novel Animal Model For The Treatment Of Chronic Poly-Microbial Infection Using Innovative Biofilm Patches
  • C-di-GMP-mediated host-pathogen interactome at molecular/systems biology level
  • Cluster 4 - Public Health and Medical Biofilms
  • Development Of Novel Fluorogenic Probes ForCarbapenemase
  • Establishment of a novel Salmonella genotype database for source tracking analysis and investigation of pathogenic mechanisms
  • Systems Biology Analysis Of Antibiotic Resistance Of Pathogenic Biofilms
  • Systems biology of lipid metabolism of persistent Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Targeting Vitamin B1 metabolism for antibiotic drug development
Selected Publications
  • Shan Yu, Tiantian Su, Huijun Wu, Shiheng Liu, Di Wang, Tianhu Zhao, Zengjun Jin, Wenbin Du, Mei-Jun Zhu, Song Lin Chua, Liang Yang, Deyu Zhu, Lichuan Gu, Luyan Z Ma. (2015). PslG, a self-produced glycosyl hydrolase, triggers biofilm disassembly by disrupting exopolysaccharide matrix. Cell Research, 25(12), 1352-1367.
  • SL Chua, LD Hultqvist, M Yuan, M Rybtke, TE Nielsen, M Givskov, T Tolker-Nielsen, L Yang. (2015). In vitro and in vivo generation and characterization of Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm-dispersed cells via c-di-GMP manipulation. Nature Protocols, 10(8), 1165-1180.
  • SL Chua, Y Liu, JHY Kuok, Y Chen, RM Vejborg, BGC Tan, S Kjelleberg, T Tolker-Nielsen, M Givskov, L Yang. (2014). Dispersed cells represent a distinct stage in the transition from bacterial biofilm to planktonic lifestyles. Nature Communications, 5, 4462.
  • J Teo, SY Tan, M Tay, Y Ding, S Kjelleberg, M Givskov, RTP Lin, L Yang. (2013). First case of E anophelis outbreak in an intensive-care unit. The Lancet, 382(9895), 855 - 856.

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